Kovalainenin running for Razia’s seat

Heikki Kovalainen has emerged as a surprise contender to keep his F1 career alive in 2013.

Ousted by Caterham, the Finn is reportedly in talks with Marussia about replacing the Brazilian Luiz Razia, whose F1 debut is on the skids over delayed sponsorship payments.

MTV3, the Finnish broadcaster, is citing ‘several credible sources’ in reporting that 31-year-old Kovalainen is in with a shout of becoming Max Chilton’s teammate.

Multiple other media sources are reporting the same, based on swirling rumours in the Barcelona paddock that Razia will not be driving the Cosworth-powered Marussia this week.

“Nothing is certain until it is certain,” said MTV3 commentator Oskari Saari, “but that discussions are taking place is a fact.”

Saari added that it is “quite possible” Kovalainen will test the new MR02 on Saturday.

Britain’s Sky reports that Kovalainen has already had a seat fitting at Marussia’s factory, and is offering to race in 2013 for free.

“We have to do what is best for the whole team,” Marussia sporting director Graeme Lowdon said. “If there are changes it will be for the good of the team.”

It has also been rumoured that Narain Karthikeyan and Jules Bianchi are possible contenders for Razia’s seat. Meanwhile, Vitaly Petrov’s manager Oksana Kosachenko was in the Barcelona paddock on Thursday, sparking rumours of a Russian team-and-driver lineup for 2013.

But Kosachenko said: “We’ve already seen the Russian presence of the team diminish.

“The Russians on the team are almost gone,” she told f1news.ru, “Nikolai Fomenko stopped going to the races. The Russians are actually only the owners and the license holders.

“This year, Vitaly will not be in Formula )ne,” Kosachenko confirmed.

Source:GMM

Razia: Contract ‘conflicts’ cause of Marussia test snub

Luiz Razia has confirmed that off-track “conflicts” caused him to sit out last week’s Barcelona test.

Despite intending to run its new Brazilian driver for two days in Spain, Marussia left Briton Max Chilton in the 2013 car for the entire test week, explaining only that it benefitted from the “consistency” of the amended schedule.

Rumours suggested 23-year-old Razia’s sponsors had missed a payment date.

“In the contract,” the driver told Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, “there are parties with responsibilities. We trust them, but we have some conflicts,” Razia explained.

Asked if the “conflicts” were the reason he sat out Barcelona last week, he admitted: “Exactly.

“We did the right things, it’s just that it’s out of our control. We will solve it. We just need a few days.”

Razia suggested Marussia’s official explanation for the change of scheduling last week – that the team simply wanted Chilton to drive the whole test – was incorrect.

“I would not sign a contract with such a disadvantage,” he insisted.

Folha de S.Paulo said a Marussia spokesperson did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Source:GMM

Razia left out of Marussia’s Barcelona test

Luiz Razia, Marussia’s second race driver for 2013, has been left out of this week’s testing in Barcelona.

The situation is causing alarm within Brazil’s F1 media ranks, and raising doubts about whether the 23-year-old’s new contract is now in doubt, or whether Max Chilton is simply the clear and favoured ‘number 1’.

Brazilian Razia was scheduled to run for two of the four days in Spain, but Marussia said the programme was changed to exclude Razia because it “made sense to keep Max in the car for consistency”.

“Max has done a great job over the last three days,” team boss John Booth said on Thursday, “and we’ve certainly benefited from the consistency this has provided.”

Obviously, the situation has triggered rumours.

“It is believed bureaucratic issues have hindered the payment of (Razia’s) sponsorship to Marussia,” read a report by the Brazilian news agency Agencia Estado.

Razia told O Estado de S.Paulo correspondent Livio Oricchio: “Sometimes we have to live with these situations.

“But I don’t care whether I have the same number of (test) days as Chilton. In the other series I’ve competed in, I haven’t needed much time to get used to a car.”

Veteran journalist Oricchio has another theory about Chilton’s prominence.

“Friends in the paddock have told me that Max Chilton’s father is acquiring a portion of Marussia at the end of each of the three seasons of his son’s contract. It is known that their investment in Marussia is far greater than that of Razia.”

Source:GMM

Marussia confirms Razia for 2013

Marussia on Wednesday finally confirmed reports Luiz Razia has completed the team’s 2013 race driver lineup.

The 23-year-old Brazilian, runner-up in last year’s GP2 championship, will mark the news by testing Marussia’s newly-launched MR02 car at Jerez on Wednesday.

The 2013 vacancy, now filled by Razia, opened up recently when Marussia split with Timo Glock, citing the need for a sponsored driver.

“Together with Max (Chilton), we are fielding a young but incredibly ambitious pairing and we look forward to seeing what they can achieve,” said team boss John Booth.

When it was called Virgin, Razia was the team’s reserve driver in 2010.

Source:GMM

Razia: I was surprised by Marussia’s Chilton deal

Luiz Razia, the 2012 GP2 runner-up, admitted he was surprised when on Tuesday Marussia announced Max Chilton as Timo Glock’s 2013 teammate.

The 23-year-old Brazilian told Globo he was a hot contender for the seat until the very last minute.

“We didn’t have much chance at Lotus,” Razia, referring to this week’s news of Romain Grosjean’s new contract, admitted.

“But we were caught by surprise by Marussia. We were talking to them until yesterday. They said ‘We’re still deciding’. There are still two vacancies, Force India and Caterham, and we’ve been talking. Yes we still have a chance,” said Razia.

Yet another possibility is that Marussia does not honour its existing contract with Timo Glock.

Indeed, Tuesday’s press release about Chilton made not a single reference to the German, and the recent official 2013 entry list said both of Marussia’s 2013 seats were ‘TBA’ (to be announced).

“Timo has a contract until 2014 and so the team would have to pay a penalty of termination. I don’t know if that’s interesting for the team,” said Razia, who admitted he has “sponsors” but not a “bottomless pit” of funding.

Source:GMM

Contenders line up for 2013 Force India seat

The contenders are lining at the door to fill Force India’s vacancy for 2013.

With Nico Hulkenberg switching to Sauber, there are plenty of suitors for the seat alongside Paul di Resta. Spain’s Marca sports daily said Pirelli tester Jaime Alguersuari has been offered a drive by BMW to race in the DTM touring car series next year.

“But he is exhausting his options to get into a F1 car next year before considering the proposal,” read the report.

Another contender is Force India’s current reserve driver, Jules Bianchi, who practiced in the team’s 2012 car during Friday practice in Abu Dhabi.

“This was the first time that I was so close to him,” the Nicolas Todt-managed driver, referring to Hulkenberg in the sister car, said after Friday’s running. “It is positive and a good time to get a good result.

“I know there are many other drivers who want to be in the team, but I think they (Force India) are happy with me and we’ll see what they decide,” he is quoted by L’Equipe.

Also linked with the 2013 drive have been Adrian Sutil and Sebastien Buemi. With a bigger hatful of sponsors, however, is Bruno Senna, and according to Finland’s Turun Sanomat, Williams last week allowed the option on his current contract to lapse.

Yet another contender is Brazilian GP2 driver Luiz Razia, who is also sponsored.

“If I had no sponsors, I would pack my bags and go home now,” he told Radio Globo. “To debut on a good team like Force India would really accelerate the process of coming to a really good team in two or three years.”

Source:GMM

Razia ‘deserves a chance’ in F1 – Horner

Christian Horner thinks GP2 Luiz Razia deserves a place on the 2013 F1 grid.

With one round to go, the 23-year-old is chasing Davide Valsecchi for this year’s GP2 championship. Earlier this week, he tested for the Force India team at Magny Cours. In GP2, he drives for Red Bull team boss Horner’s Arden team.

“I think he deserves a chance in F1 next year,” Briton Horner is quoted by Brazil’s Totalrace.

In a collaboration with Mark Webber, Horner’s other junior team, MW Arden, has wrapped up the 2012 GP3 championship with New Zealander Mitch Evans. Asked about his role with Arden, Red Bull team principal Horner answered: “It’s very limited. I’m still the owner, but I’m a bit like Ron Dennis (with McLaren),” he smiled.

Source:GMM

GP2 leader Razia eyeing Red Bull test

With his career in tatters at the end of last year, the next step for Luiz Razia could be a test for reigning world champions Red Bull. Just 12th at the end of last year’s GP2 championship, when under Caterham’s wing, the Brazilian nearly quit racing altogether.

“I almost stopped,” the 23-year-old confirmed to Globo. “I was thinking about going back to college to do engineering.”

One year on and he is leading the 2012 GP2 championship and now tipped for a Red Bull test.

“Christian Horner called me, sat me down and proposed a very generous contract for this year,” Razia revealed, referring to the Arden GP2 team owner and Red Bull Racing principal. “It was an opportunity to be with a strong team and to improve as a professional within RBR. Things went well from the start.”

Razia openly admits that his next target is F1.

“It’s the goal of every driver in GP2,” he insisted, “and I have the dream to be the GP2 champion — it’s something that no Brazilian has done before. Being GP2 champion can open many doors for me,” he said.

“The goal is to win and then do the rookie tests at the end of the year with a good team.”

Source:GMM